Making wine” today, in a place as special as the Langhe, is not simply doing a job that takes you 8 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week.
“To “make wine” here is to live one with the troubled history of these hills, the long agricultural and culinary tradition, the people’s passions for the land, the love for each plant or tree you see blooming again every year, the knowledge that to receive you have to give: the vineyard asks a lot.
We have seen our fathers and earlier our grandfathers sweat, fight against adversity, swear against hail, fight to own a piece of land, care for it like a child, rejoice over a good harvest and share a glass with friends, proud of the fruit of their labor.
We saw our mothers and grandmothers taking care of the family by growing gardens and orchards, making preserves and jams to serve for the winter, homemade pasta on rainy days, bread on Saturdays in the big neighborhood bakery, cheeses and ricotta from the milk of the animals raised in each family. In winter with snow, by the stove making sweaters, hats and woolen socks.
All this cannot today be reduced to simply “making wine,” as if it were a job like any other, made up simply of hours passing, product sold, revenue or earnings. The farmer never reckoned in terms of money: his accounts were a good harvest in the cellar, a piece of vineyard planted, a new barrel or plow at the end of the year. If it happened it was a success. And he was happy. Money, those who rule the world today, have always been necessary in order to advance and improve what was the real goal: one’s work and farm.
Here, today we are the heirs of all this and we cannot think that the world can change us by erasing all that we have learned, seen, savored, shared. True consumerism is still hardly contemplated on these lands. We would rather invest in a forest than in a new car.
And it has remained the pleasure of making the garden, of growing fruit trees for jams, of making bread on Saturdays for the family. We focused more on the vineyard because of the great vocation of these lands, but hazelnut groves and forests cover more than half of our land.